New to the area and looking for friendship groups?
People in their senior years often move home. They might be retiring to a favourite part of the country, relocating to be nearer family, downsizing, or even returning to the UK after living abroad.
Whatever the reason, finding new friends in a new community can make all the difference to how satisfying the move is.
Here are a few ideas on where to find people to share conversation, hobbies, a bit of gentle exercise, or just a cup of tea.
Fresh air and a wander round the local places of interest or beauty spots are good for physical and mental health. Try a search on Walking for Health, or visit the council website which may offer guide-led walks for seniors.
With a history of being thought of as specifically for ‘old people’, community centres have been trying to reinvent themselves as a great place to meet people. As well as offering bargain lunches, these centres often run classes aimed at the over 50s, such as Zumba Gold, as well as health and wellbeing services, such as hairdressing.
Local church communities
Even if your parent doesn’t attend church regularly they are likely to be welcomed at the events held by churches in support of the local community.
There’s always plenty more we can learn at any age, and the University of the Third Age has proved to be inspiring and popular. Search on U3A for a local group.
Library book groups
Book groups continue to be popular, and you can find them running privately, in community centres, and perhaps most easily accessed, in the local library.
Knit and natter
Growing in popularity, these are what it says on the can. People get together on the regular basis to knit, crochet or do other gentle crafts, and chat to others. As with many of these groups, it’s often easier to talk – and be silent for a while -when you’re also engrossed in an activity.
GPs are being encouraged to prescribe exercise for older people, but even if they don’t many leisure centres are now running senior groups. And many have indoor bowls clubs that are available throughout the year.
Singing is good for the soul and groups like the Rock Choir are having great success in bringing together voices of all levels to sing some favourite songs and perform to the public.
Music and lunch
Lunchtime concerts at local community halls and arts centres are often accompanied by coffee or a light lunch.
Films and cake
Film screenings with tea and cake are becoming popular as a way of bringing a wider audience to local cinemas.
Your parent may not want to take on an allotment, but you can often find smaller groups who just want to talk gardening, share ideas, and maybe swap cuttings and seeds.
Men in Sheds
Speaking in broad generalisations, men can find making friends more difficult than women as they may not be accustomed to sitting and chatting with strangers. Men in Sheds and similar groups are a wonderful invention, where the idea is that attendees focus on making and fixing things, with friendships building simply by working together.
Walking football and netball
Another idea for group exercise are the growing number of walking football groups, now often accompanied by walking netball. They’re a great opportunity to continue to enjoy team sports without the anxiety of trying to run anywhere.
This is a well-established idea but none the worse for it. Many retired people keep up interactions with other people by volunteering in charity shops, hospitals, community centres, care homes and more.
If you still can’t find quite the right thing, do try asking for ideas on neighbourhood groups for ideas locally, such as Nextdoor and Facebook.